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Understanding the role of stormwater management activities in the Lake Tahoe clarity TMDL: Application of a meta-heuristic optimization technique for cost-benefit evaluation among pollutant sources

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Lake Tahoe is a designated Outstanding National Resource Waterbody. However, lake clarity has dropped at a rate of 9 inches per year since the late 1960s, with ultra-fine sediment and nutrient driven algae production as the primary stressors. The four primary sources identified include urban runoff, forest erosion, atmospheric deposition, and stream channel erosion. With more than 1.5 billion estimated as the cost to restore lake clarity, a premium has been placed on developing informative decision support analyses. Following an expert-led effort to characterize pollutant reduction opportunities and associated costs for the primary sources, a meta-heuristic optimization technique was applied to evaluate costs-benefits and selection trade-offs among controls from the various pollutant sources. This paper highlights (1) the urban stormwater management methodology, and (2) the optimization methods to support stakeholder decision making. This effort culminated in the development an integrated water quality management strategy for the Lake Tahoe TMDL.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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